The Girl Who Wrote in Silk

Kelli Estes       Pages: 390       Published: 2015

The book: It’s modern-day Seattle. Inara has graduated and is about to start a corporate job her father has arranged for her.  She’s unenthused with the idea and has other plans that involve an old family home she has inherited on Orcas Island in the Puget Sound. There she finds an old piece of embroidered cloth and sets out to discover its origins.

Mei Lien lives in Seattle during the 1800s, a time period during which racism was rampant. Tragedy befalls her family.

There’s a connection between Mei Lien and Inara, but what is it? What’s the story behind the beautiful embroidery? Will Inara defy her father and follow her dreams?

You might like it because: It’s a very readable story. Estes does a good job of switching back and forward between two time periods. A good read for the beach.

What did other people say?
“Though there are a few unnecessary coincidences, Estes’ debut is a pleasing blend of historical fiction and contemporary drama.” – Kirkus Review

“Estes has drawn on some rich historical resources for this tale and she is capable of writing emotionally resonant scenes. But ultimately — perhaps due to the formulaic expectations of the genre — her story is not entirely convincing.” – The Seattle Times

How quickly will you get into the book? The first two pages are excellent and pull you into Mei Lien’s story straight away.

You might not like it because: What starts as a piece of promising historical fiction morphs into more of a romance novel.  If you prefer something with more gravitas, skip this book.

What might you read next?
You could continue with a Chinese theme and pick up a novel whose storyline is split between rural China and California. Read The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See.

Or stick with Seattle and read Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao, where the story starts in India but then moves to Seattle.

© 2019